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Rory McIlroy's Zika virus fear as he plans to start family with Erica Stoll may keep him away from Rio Olympics

By Lisa Smyth

Published 24/05/2016

Rory and Erica
Rory and Erica
Rory's mother Rose and his fiancee Erica Stoll follow his group during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
Glamorous couple Rory McIlroy and girlfriend Erica Stoll, left, at a recent charity ball in Titanic Belfast

Rory McIlroy has revealed he is planning to start a family - meaning he may turn down the chance to play at the Olympics because of fears over the Zika virus in Brazil.

The world number three has said that he intends to go to Rio but is monitoring the spread of the virus before making a final decision.

Rory with Erica in Belfast last week
Rory with Erica in Belfast last week
The engagement ring that Rory bought fiancé Ercia Stoll is estimated to have cost the Co Down golfer over £430,000. Pic: Irish Independent.
There is speculation that Rory McIlroy has proposed to his girlfriend Erica Stoll

McIlroy confirmed his engagement to stunning American girlfriend Erica Stoll in December. They met when she came to the golfer's rescue after he mixed up his tee time at the Ryder Cup at Medinah in October 2012 - and she arranged a police escort for him.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been linked to a birth defect known as microcephaly, which can lead to babies with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.

McIlroy said: "There's going to be a point in the next couple of years where we're going to have to think about starting a family.

"Right now I'm ready to go [to the Olympics] but I don't want anything to affect that."

Asked if there was a chance he might not go to Rio, McIlroy replied: "Yeah." But he added: "Right now I am going and looking forward to it."

He was speaking just hours after securing his first Irish Open title. Rory said he had been reading a lot of reports about Zika "and there have been some articles coming out saying that it might be worse than they're saying and I have to monitor that situation".

The golf champion said: "I am actually going to get my injections on Wednesday - at least I will be immunised for whatever ... if I do get bitten by a mosquito down there."

Rory McIlroy with new girlfriend Erica Stoll
Rory McIlroy with new girlfriend Erica Stoll
Erica Stoll
Erica Stoll
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland arrives at the course with new girlfriend Erica Stoll
Rory McIlroy celebrates with Erica Stoll after winning the DP World Tour Golf Championship in Dubai earlier this month

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